There are so many real-life horror stories about people who have been ripped off by dodgy tradesmen whom they’ve taken on to do work and repairs in good faith. Here are just a few examples:
- Near-Fatal Boiler Service
A Colchester woman called out a local gas man to perform an annual service on her boiler. He told her he was registered to undertake the work and she took him at his word. Upon inspection he “found” lots of faults which needed to be attended to immediately, obviously at a substantial cost.
Some days later the lady’s husband began to complain that he felt light-headed and by a process of elimination the couple eventually concluded that the problem probably rested with the boiler, so they called in a different gas man, this time one who really did have the necessary accreditations and was only too happy to demonstrate the fact.
He found that the first workman had botched the work in a way that had caused the boiler to leak, and that the couple were both being poisoned by carbon monoxide. “I’m surprised you’re not both dead,” he commented.
Fortunately for them both it was summer, and due to the hot weather they had had their windows open most of the time, a decision which probably saved their lives.
- Reluctant to Get His Finger Out
A London plumber drilled into a boiler at the home of an elderly lady customer. Unfortunately he forgot to drain the tank first, and a stream of disgusting black water spilled out all over the lady’s nice cream carpet. Instinctively the plumber put his finger into the hole and reached for his mobile to call help only to realise, to his horror, that he had left it in another room. Not wanting to cause any more damage he kept his finger in the hole, where it remained for three hours until the customer had returned home. However by this time his finger had swelled up and he couldn’t remove it.
The problem was eventually resolved by the fire brigade, who cut him free, but sadly they could do nothing to save the cream carpet. He didn’t get paid.
- I’ve Started But I Won’t Finish
A Leicester builder was sent to prison after charging six customers a total of over £120,000 for work which in every case was left uncompleted.
Each time his actions followed the same pattern. He would quote a low price for the work to secure the job but would not notify his customers of their legal right to cancel. Once they had taken him on he would ask for large sums of money up front for the purchase of items such as doors and windows, which never materialised. The work took much longer than had originally been promised and was of a very poor quality.
In every case, he eventually abandoned the work before it was finished, leaving his customers not only out of pocket from his bill but also having to pay a real builder to make good the damage.